With the Democratic Party resuming control of the House of Representatives, Congressman Jim Langevin’s opportunity to preside over the House as Speaker pro-tempore on the first day of the 116th congress was filled with debate over ending the government shutdown.
On Jan. 3, House Democrats brought forth two bills to end the government shutdown, neither of which included funding for Trump’s border wall. Inside the bills were countless pages of information regarding healthcare, election security, climate change and budgeting procedures. Langevin voted in favor of both bills, and both made it through the House of Representatives.
“I’m honored that Speaker Pelosi appointed me as Speaker pro-tempore on the first day of the new session,” Langevin said. “It symbolizes the inclusivity that we want this Congress to be about and hopefully that will include a more inclusive agenda moving forward.”
Langevin is excited that the Democrats have regained the majority in the House, as he believes the Republicans have ignored many important concerns of the American people over the last few years. He is hopeful Congress can find bipartisan solutions that reflect the needs of the American people.
“This is a new day in Washington in Congress,” Langevin said in a telephone interview. “I’m hoping we can look for opportunities to reach across the aisle, to find common ground solutions, bipartisan solutions that work for the American people.”
This is not the first time Langevin has presided over the House of Representatives. He also had the honor of serving in July 2010, during the 20th anniversary of the passage of the American Disabilities Act. However, only members of the majority party may act as Speaker pro-tempore, which made him unable to have the opportunity to preside for the last eight years.
“I had the privilege and honor of presiding over the House when we brought up the resolution commemorating the 20th anniversary is the ADA,” Langevin said. “I was hopeful that at some point we could take back the majority, but more importantly, it’s about changing course from where we were.”
Langevin began his commitment to public service in 1984, but originally didn’t have any intentions of running for public office. As a teen Langevin was interested in law-enforcement and became a police cadet. At the age of 16 and while in the department locker room an officer’s gun was accidentally discharged and the ricocheting bullet left Langevin paralyzed. In his search to continue public service, he found that elective office was interesting and fulfilling.
Langevin was selected to be a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional convention in 1984, and has career has continued to progress.
“In 1988 I ran and was elected as a State Representative,” Langevin said. “In 1994 I finished my Master’s degree and I ran for Secretary of State and I was elected there. I served as Secretary of State for six years and then I ran for Congress in 2000 and that’s what I have been doing ever since.”
Langevin is the representative for Rhode Island’s second congressional district, which includes Providence, Johnston, Glocester, Foster, Cranston, Burrillville and the entirety of Kent and Washington Counties. He is recognized as a party leader on issues pertaining to national security, cyber security and health care.
On Jan. 7, still in the midst of a government shutdown, Langevin commented on the president’s refusal to work with Congress he said. He took to Facebook and said, “Americans shouldn’t have to wait for their tax refunds over the president’s continued refusal to work with Congress. House Democrats will vote to reopen critical government services separate from the border wall debate.”